"Continuing Anglican" Churches - Arguably the most consistently traditional or "classical" Anglican churches.

Continuing Anglican Miscellany

"Anglican Realignment" Churches (ACNA, AMiA, and others) - Conservative but markedly less traditional.

Reformed Episcopal Church - Currently part of the Anglican Realignment but these days much more like the traditional Continuing Anglican bodies.


1662 Book of Common Prayer Online

1928 Book of Common Prayer Online

A Living Text

Alastair's Adversaria

Akenside Press

American Anglican Council

American Anglican Council Videos on the 39 Articles


Anglican Audio

Anglican Bible and Book Society

An Anglican Bookshelf (List of recommended Anglican books)

Anglican Catholic Church

Anglican Catholic Liturgy and Theology

Anglican Church in North America

Anglican Church Planting

Anglican Eucharistic Theology

Anglican Expositor

Anglican Mainstream

Anglican Mission in the Americas

Anglican Mom

An Anglican Priest

Anglican Radio

Anglican Rose

Anglicanly Speaking

The Anglophilic Anglican

A BCP Anglican

The Book of Common Prayer (Blog of Photos)

The Book of Common Prayer (Online Texts)

The Cathedral Close

The Catholic Anglican

The Church Calendar

Church Society

Classical Anglicanism:  Essays by Fr. Robert Hart

Cogito, Credo, Petam

Colorado Anglican Society

(The Old) Continuing Anglican Churchman

(The New) Continuing Anglican Churchman

The Continuum

The Curate's Corner

The Cure of Souls

Drew's Views

The Evangelical Ascetic

Fellowship of Concerned Churchmen

Forward in Christ Magazine

Forward in Faith North America

Francis J. Hall's Theological Outlines

Free Range Anglican

The Hackney Hub

Gavin Ashenden

International Catholic Congress of Anglicans

Jesse Nigro's Thoughts

The Latimer Trust

Martin Thornton

Meditating on "Irvana"

New Goliards

New Scriptorium (Anglican Articles and Books Online)

The North American Anglican

O cuniculi! Ubi lexicon Latinum posui?

The Ohio Anglican Blog

The Old High Churchman


Prayer Book Anglican

The Prayer Book Society, USA

Project Canterbury

Pusey House


Reformed Catholicism

Reformed Episcopal Church

The Ridley Institute

River Thames Beach Party

The Secker Society

Society of Archbishops Cranmer and Laud

The Southern High Churchman

Stand Firm


The Theologian

The World's Ruined


To All The World

Trinity House Blog

United Episcopal Church of North America

Virtue Online

We See Through A Mirror Darkly



The Babylon Bee

Bad Vestments

The Low Churchman's Guide to the Solemn High Mass

Lutheran Satire


Ponder Anew: Discussions about Worship for Thinking People


Black-Robed Regiment

Cardinal Charles Chaput Reviews "For Greater Glory" (Cristero War)

Cristero War

Benedict Option

Jim Kalb: How Bad Will Things Get?



Christians in the Roman Army: Countering the Pacifist Narrative

Bernard of Clairvaux and the Knights Templar

Gates of Nineveh

Gates of Vienna

Islamophobes (We're in good company)

Jihad Watch

Nineveh Plains Protection Units

Restore Nineveh Now - Nineveh Plains Protection Units

Sons of Liberty International (SOLI)

The Muslim Issue



Abbeville Institute Blog

Art of the Rifle

The Art of Manliness

Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture

Church For Men

The Church Impotent: The Feminization of Christianity, (Leon Podles' online book)

The Counter-Revolution

Craft Beer


Eclectic Orthodoxy

First Things

The Imaginative Conservative

Joffre the Giant: Excursions in Christian Virility


Men of the West

Mercurius Pragmaticus Redivivus

Mere Comments

Mitre and Crown

Monomakhos (Eastern Orthodox; Paleocon)

Paterfamilias Daily

Tales of Chivalry

The Midland Agrarian

Those Catholic Men

Tim Holcombe: Anti-State; Pro-Kingdom

Midwest Conservative Journal

Numavox Records (Music of Kerry Livgen & Co.)

Pint, Pipe and Cross Club

The Pipe Smoker

Red River Orthodox

The Salisbury Review

Throne, Altar, Liberty

Project Appleseed (Basic Rifle Marksmanship)


What's Wrong With The World: Dispatches From The 10th Crusade



A Defense of the Doctrine of the Eternal Subordination of the Son  (Yes, this is about women's ordination.)

An (Extended) Short History of the Diaconate

Essays on the Ordination of Women to the Priesthood from the Episcopal Diocese of Ft. Worth

Father is Head at the Table: Male Eucharistic Headship and Primary Spiritual Leadership, Ray Sutton

God, Gender and the Pastoral Office, S.M. Hutchens

God, Sex and Gender, Gavin Ashenden

Homo Hierarchicus and Ecclesial Order, Brian Horne

How Ordaining Women Harms Ministry to Men, C.R. Wiley

Let's Stop Making Women Presbyters, J.I. Packer

Liturgy and Interchangeable Sexes, Peter J. Leithart

Ordaining Women as Deacons: A Reappraisal of the Anglican Mission in America's Policy

Priestesses in Plano, Robert Hart

Priestesses in the Church?, C.S. Lewis

Reasons for Questioning Women’s Ordination in the Light of Scripture, Rodney Whitacre

Streams of the River: Articles Outlining the Arguments Against the Ordination of Women to the Priesthood

Traditional Anglican Resources

William Witt's Articles on Women's Ordination (Old Jamestown Church archive)

Women Priests?, Eric Mascall

Women and the Priesthood, Catholic Answers

Women Priests: History & Theology, Patrick Reardon

Powered by Squarespace
Recent Entries
Categories and Monthly Archives
This area does not yet contain any content.







                  Theme Music:  Healey Willan - Missa brevis No. 2 in F Minor



And yet Anglo-Calvinists tend to get their knickers in a twist when I refer to them as "Neo-Puritans."  See the combox discussion here. :)


PURITAN | Announcement Teaser from Stephen McCaskell on Vimeo.


And Now, The Orthodox Church

"Holy" Saturday.

Tonight I penned this message to a left-leaning GOARCH priest I know, who, if it weren't for his leftward leanings, I would have nothing but total, unqualified respect.  Alas:

No one does this in the Anglican Continuum. No one. No one rides a scooter throwing Basil leaves on Holy Saturday. No priest rides a hoverboard. No one attaches a Monstrance to a drone and flies it down the Nave to the priest. None of us are Paper Machet Puppets of Doom proceeding into the church with "liturgical dancers"

No one agitates for abortion rights. No one agitates for women's ordination. There is no counterpart of "Axios."

We Continuing Anglicans, few though we be, ACTUALLY DO what the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church did, and don't do what it didn't do.

Do you see why I left?


Christian Europe Lives


Christ Is Risen!!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
O sons and daughters, let us sing!
The King of heaven, the glorious King,...
O'er death and hell rose triumphing.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

That Easter morn, at break of day,
The faithful women went their way
To seek the tomb where Jesus lay:
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

An angel clad in white they see,
Who sat and spake unto the three,
"Your Lord doth go to Galilee."
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

That night the apostles met in fear;
Amidst them came their Lord most dear,
and said, "My peace be on all here."
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

On this most holy day of days,
Our hearts and voices, Lord we raise, (?)
In joy and jubilee and praise.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!


Christ Is Risen!!

Victimae paschali laudes
immolent Christiani....

Mors et vita duello
conflixere mirando:
dux vitae mortuus,
regnat vivus.

Dic nobis Maria,
quid vidisti in via?

Sepulcrum Christi viventis,
et gloriam vidi resurgentis:

Angelicos testes,
sudarium, et vestes.

Surrexit Christus spes mea:
praecedet suos in Galilaeam.

Scimus Christum surrexisse
a mortuis vere:
tu nobis, victor Rex, miserere.
Amen. Alleluia.

Let Christians offer sacrificial
praises to the passover victim.

Death and life contended
in a spectacular battle:
the Prince of life, who died,
reigns alive.

Tell us, Mary, what did
you see on the road?

"I saw the tomb of the living Christ
and the glory of his rising,

The angelic witnesses, the
clothes and the shroud."

"Christ my hope is arisen;
into Galilee, he will go before his own."

We know Christ is truly risen from the dead!
To us, victorious King, have mercy!
Amen. Alleluia.


Missionary Diocese of All Saints May Leave ACNA

"Shuffle off to Rome" indeed.  Not sure why they aren't considering the Continuum, especially given the prospect that certain Continuing Anglican churches and PNCC might soon be in communion anyway.


Old Roman Chant


A Model Letter on the Restoration of All-Male Altar Service 

From the Trad Roman Catholic blog New Liturgical Movement: Sacred Liturgy and Liturgical Arts.  For our Neo-Anglican friends.

Though we could do without the lace.


Anglo-Catholic Manifesto

An essay by Fr. Will Boyd that explains among other things why neither classical Anglicans nor Anglo-Catholics need to become Orthodox and why women should not be ordained to clerical office.


New to the Blog Roll

Meditating on "Irvana", the blog of my friend Fr. Will Boyd.  Good stuff here.


The Templars

Read up on them.  They're not the stuff of Masonry or of the Dan Brown novels and movies or any of that conspiracy theory nonsense.

They were warrior monks who followed a rule crafted by the proto-Cistercian and Doctor of the Cathoiic Church St. Bernard of Clairvaux.  They fought nobly, but unfortunately got over their heads in wordly affairs (they were some of the first bankers), and were finally taken down by a French monarch who owed them money.

The main takeaway here is what St. Bernard intended for them.   You'll find in his writings some very significant things about the complementary relationship of Christian theology and the Christian political order.  He was a Catholic mystic of the first order but also a practical and martial saint.  Hear ye him.


Muscular Christianity in Song

Jerycho: Petrus de Grudencz - Presulis Eminenciam Totam.


Wishing You All A Blessed and Profitable Lent

You know, these were just a gang of young Jesus People, probably ignorant of Christian history and the importance of being the Catholic Church.

But boy did they get it rigtht with this video. The Holy Spirit. Luke 9:50.


When Men Chant Manly


Ashenden: God, Sex and Gender

This article may very well be the best Anglican theological essay on WO and related issues since Lewis' and Mascall's. It is certainly more up to date. Thank you, Bishop Ashenden.

And repent, ACNA, AMiA and GAFCON.


Thoughts on 'Western Rite'

From Orthodox England.  Yet one example of many that can be adduced showing that the so-called Orthodox Western Rite isn't too popular with the Byzantine Riters, who constitute the vast majority of the Eastern Orthodox.

Whatever reservations most Orthodox have, it must be said that bishops can give their blessing for the formation and practice of a Western rite in the Orthodox Churches. This is if they consider it pastorally necessary, if, in other words, there are people who can be brought into genuine Orthodoxy through it.

It may be that with the dissolution of Anglicanism in particular, there is now a place for a ‘Western rite’ in Orthodoxy. Despite all manner of disadvantages and difficulties, a ‘Western rite’ could perhaps fill a temporary pastoral need for some specific small groups.

However, it is doubtful if this need extends beyond a handful of individuals. In any case, whether we are for or against, interested or bored by the question of, ‘Western rite’, it is not up to us. It is ultimately up to those who have pastoral oversight, our bishops, to encourage or discourage a ‘Western rite’, according to whether they find anyone who needs it or not.


A Message to the Western Rite Orthodox: Stop Fishing for Anglican Converts

From a recent Facebook discussion about the Branch Fact. Why the Continuing Church should be allowed to unify, stabilize, grow and evangelize, free of the predatory designs of the Orthodox diaspora here in the West, and especially of the so-called Orthodox Western Rite. I have to say that this is perhaps the most eloquent and powerful statement I've seen thus far from an Anglo-Catholic perspective rather than an Evangelical Anglican one, and it is my hope that all the bishops of the Continuum will publicly issue a similar statement, as one, in order to stake our claim as the legitimate English Catholic Church operating here in the West and in our historic missions:

"The differences between ourselves and the Orthodox Eastern Church are cultural and historical, not theological. Traditional Anglicanism is the orthodox catholic Church of the West. We differ from the Eastern Churches in matters of discipline and expression, but we hold the fullness of the ancient Faith of the Seven Ecumenical Councils. The Anglo-Catholic Church is a Western Church with a thoroughly orthodox liturgy in our own historical tradition. We westerners often accuse the Eastern Churches of the error of ethnophyletism, which is the confusion of faith and culture, yea, the identification of orthodox Christianity with a particular racial or ethnic group. I fear that accusation may be justified. Although the Eastern Churches swear up and down that they are not guilty of this confusion, the common praxis of the Eastern Church betrays an underlying attachment to this phenomenon. For the outsider at least, it appears the Eastern Orthodox behave as though to be Christian is to be Greek, Russian, or Arab. For this reason, I disappointingly believe that Eastern Orthodoxy can never fully proclaim the Gospel in a western society or culture. The Catholic Faith has never been fully incarnated by the Constantinopolitan Churches in a western context. Sometimes it seems our Eastern Orthodox friends are afraid, on a visceral and even subconscious level, of anything Western, fearing the contamination of 'papism.'

Historically, orthodox Anglicanism has enjoyed a very positive and healthy relationship with the Eastern Orthodox, mainly because both Churches have desired to affirm their positions in opposition to the Pope. Both are Apostolic and yet fiercely non-papal. Both Churches are conciliar Churches with the Seven Sacraments. In all honesty I think it must be said that the history of Anglican-Orthodox relations has been one of 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend.' I say this because the Eastern Orthodox, although they have recognised the validity of Anglican Orders beginning in 1922 with the Patriarch of Constantinople, have never really attempted to restore full sacramental communion with us, although such a restoration is not only possible but demanded by our clear theological agreement. The failure points to the aforementioned complex the Eastern Orthodox have about things western, as well as, if I may say it, to our own typical western arrogance (an arrogance which led the official Canterbury Communion utterly to destroy its relations with the Eastern Orthodox by unilaterally introducing the heresy of women's ordination). Our ultimate vocation as Traditional Anglicans is to proclaim and perpetuate the fullness of catholic orthodoxy in western terms and tradition. Now to be fair, the Eastern Orthodox have a very strong justification for rejecting the filioque clause of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, which we have received via the sixth-century Latin Church. They also reject the use of unleavened bread in the Eucharist. For that matter, they require bishops to be celibate and priests and deacons to be married before ordination. They allow up to three ecclesiastical divorces per person. An old adage says that the difference between Catholic Anglicanism and the Eastern Church is 'our ordinations and their marriages.' There is a great deal of truth to this. One theological disagreement is the filioque, which is easily solved by either removing the filioque or re-interpreting it in a strictly Orthodox sense. The latter has already been done as of the 1875 Bonn Reunion conference, which used the doctrine of S. John of Damascus to show that the Father is the sole Origin or Source (arche or aitai or Fons Deitatis) in the Godhead, from Whom the Son is begotten and the Spirit proceeds, yet the Spirit proceeds from the Father through (dia) the Son. We already interpret the filioque in an Orthodox manner, if we reject the idea of a Double Procession or Double Origination of the Spirit from the Father and the Son as from two Sources in the Trinity. The other matters are ritual or disciplinary in nature. . . .  More precisely we could say: the differences between ourselves and the Orthodox Eastern Church are cultural and historical, not dogmatic (rather than merely theological)." - The Right Reverend Chandler Holder Jones, SSC, Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of the Eastern United States, Anglican Province of America


Anglo-Catholic Clergy Hankering for Orthodoxy Beware: The Orthodox Western Rite Is Neither Orthodox nor Western nor English nor Permanent (Part IV of a Response to Father Mark Rowe)  

This is the fourth and final article in a series of responses to Fr. Mark Rowe’s Journey to Orthodox article “So That God Would Give You To Us." These links will take you to the previous articles: Part I; Part II; Part III What follows is the merely a reprint a 2002 article about the history of Western Rite Orthodoxy written by Dr. Jean-François Mayer. I credit Fr. Anthony Chadwick for making this article public at his blog New Goliards. Dr. Mayer is Orthodox, and an early advocate for an Orthodox Western Rite. As you will see from this article, however, he reluctantly concludes that Western Rite Orthodoxy likely has no future. The article contains a very informative historical account of how and where Western Rite Orthodoxy came into existence. I commend it to any and all Anglo-Catholic clergy who may be thinking about jumping ship.

Click to read more ...


Anglo-Catholic Clergy Hankering for Orthodoxy Beware: The Orthodox Western Rite Is Neither Orthodox nor Western nor English nor Permanent (Part III of a Response to Father Mark Rowe)  

As promised, my third response to the remainder Fr. Mark Rowe’s Journey to Orthodox article “So That God Would Give You To Us."  Fr. Rowe’s argument is italicized:

I remember remarking at the male monastery at a beautiful icon of the Theotokos that they had on one of the walls which was as big as a mural. The colors and detail of the icon were striking, and I really loved it. They were selling copies of this icon in the gift store, but at the time I didn’t have the money to purchase one, but had made a mental note to myself to order one at a later time and have it shipped. As the day came to a close, and we all began to get back into our vehicles to leave, Fr. Thomas and a young Priest-monk asked me to come over where they were standing, which was behind the corner of the building.

The young Priest-monk handed me an 8×10 copy of the icon I loved so much, and something to me I would never forget:

As time went by, I was sure of my purpose, but the parish wasn’t ready to submit to Orthodoxy. Sometime after my monastery experience, Fr. Thomas Joseph was elevated to become an Archmandrite and then was elected and consecrated Bishop. After being in the Tampa parish six (6) years, I moved on to help another parish that had no priest for a couple of years. I still knew and believed that Orthodoxy was the way, but it seemed as if I was having trouble submitting myself. I also attended a local Russian Orthodox parish from time to time, and really loved the spirituality and fellowship I found there. Due to a new job, I relocated and I then started another mission parish in Sarasota, Florida.

In 2010, I had been in the third church split since being an Anglican. It was clear to me that not only did I now have answers to those questions the young Priest-monk asked me some years ago, but they required me to take action. Anglicanism was a good learning experience for me, and I am not sorry that I was part of it. I made many friends and learned a lot about ministry. I had been in ordained ministry as an Anglican for fifteen (15) years.

In my previous blog article I demonstrated why there are in fact answers to the four questions that somehow stumped Fr. Rowe.  It’s simply astounding that an Anglican priest of 15 years wouldn’t know what these answers are.  What I want to highlight here, however, is the fact that Fr. Rowe apparently continued to function as an Anglican priest after he had converted to Orthodoxy, meaning that every time he celebrated Holy Communion he did so not believing that he was confecting a valid sacrament, and this because “the parish wasn’t ready to submit to Orthodoxy.” This is because the Orthodox churches do not recognize the validity of Anglican orders and hence Anglican sacraments. Fr. Rowe apparently continued on as an Anglican priest for a several years, believing “Orthodoxy was the way”, and by logical extension, that the sacrament of the altar he was pretending to confect was in fact not so.   

This is all very curious. One would think that if a clergyman was in fact converted to Orthodoxy then he should immediately inform his bishop and stop functioning as an Anglican priest.  We in the Orthodox Anglican Church recently lost a priest to ROCOR’s Western Rite Vicariate.  At our last Clericus this priest informed our Presiding Bishop that he was going to the WRO, but not before he celebrated Holy Communion at the gathering of clergy.  Now, I will admit that we all have feet of clay, but standing at an altar and pretending to consecrate the elements of bread and wine for the benefit of the faithful while not believing that one is actually confecting a valid sacrament is just a jaw-dropping example of spiritual irresponsibility.  These priests should have immediately stopped serving at Anglican altars when they converted to Orthodoxy in their minds and hearts.

Unless, that is, they really did believe that they were confecting valid sacraments – which prompts the question of why they then felt it necessary to leave Anglicanism.  But Fr. Rowe admitted that he “had no answers” to the four questions posed by the Orthodox monk.  O, hard condition!  Well, let me move on.

For me, it was time to come full-circle. It was time to come home. I began a dialogue with the ROCOR Western Rite, and after much prayer and consideration, I felt this was the place God was leading me. I also knew of several other clergy who had the same feelings I did, and so I informed them about my plans, and they were also interested. We then made our applications to the ROCOR Western Rite Vicariate, which were accepted and blessed by Metropolitan Hilarion, and ordination dates were set for the three of us to be received and ordained to the sacred priesthood.

Note here all the emotive language.  “It was time to ‘come home’” (a now very tired Orthodox cliché); Fr. Rowe “felt” that this was where God was leading him; several other clergy had the same “feelings.”  I’m reminded here of a recent humorous article, Law professor has students 'cluck like a chicken' to combat 'feeling' over thinking.  It's clear that not a whole lot of hard thinking was transpiring here.

We sent in our letter to the College of Bishops and told them of our intent to become Orthodox. An excerpt of this letter is below:

“We are thankful for the opportunities you have provided for us. In entering Orthodoxy, we do not seek to repudiate our Anglican tradition- in fact we wish to embrace it in its fullest sense. Historically, the Ancient Church in England was Orthodox. The current vision of the HCC-AR as a via media between Catholicism and Protestantism is not the historical tradition we wish to preserve. The identity crisis and fracturing of the Continuing Church continues to this day. Thank God, we will no longer have to define who we are by who we are not.

We believe that the Continuing Church was indeed a lifeboat for the faithful. It has, in our opinion, served its purpose and run its course. The present question is whether and/or what it is intended to continue? With the advent of the Pastoral Provision and Roman Ordinariate as well as the Western Rite in Orthodoxy, it became clear to us that there was no need to remain on the lifeboat, when we could paddle home to the mother ship. In our case, we believe unequivocally that mother ship is the Orthodox Church- the Ark of Salvation.

Continuing Anglicans, Anglo-Catholics, by whatever way we wish to identify ourselves- we believe that historically, these are just shades of Western Orthodoxy. We can practice our faith and worship style and tradition alongside 300 million Orthodox worldwide. This is 300 million members as opposed to 300 members. We can be part of the Church that is still producing Saints. We also believe that Christ is pleased when His faithful seek unity. We see no reason not to seek spiritual and organic unity with the Ancient Church. “

Well, the text of this letter is such a bird’s nest of confusion that it’s hard to know where to begin.  First of all, as I and others have demonstrated, the “Ancient Church in England” was not Orthodox.  Second, had these clergy been willing to give Continuing Anglicanism some time, they would have been internal witnesses to the recent concordat signed by the ACC, APA, ACA and DHC.  There is every reason now to believe that the Continuum will continue to unify and also draw clergy and laity from the ACNA and other jurisdictions in the Anglican Realignment.  Third, the existence of large numbers is no proof of catholicity.  If it were, then the Roman communion would be the place to go.  Both Anglicans and Orthodox adhere essentially to a eucharistic ecclesiology.  In other words, if you : a) have a bishop in valid apostolic succession who b) teaches the apostolic and catholic faith, you have a Catholic church.  The catholicity of the Continuing Anglican churches is, accordingly, indisputable.  And last, if Fr. Rowe and his clergy associates’ move to Orthodoxy resulted in “organic unity with the Ancient Church”, then in effect they became part of what we Anglicans jokingly refer to as the Two One True Churches, for the catholicity of Rome is also indisputable.  This is why Roman and Orthodox apologists are always debating the question of which of the Two One True Churches is the “Onenest and Truest, while we Continuing Anglicans look on with amusement over why neither of True One True Churches can’t get their heads around the Branch Fact.   (Yes, that's *fact*, not theory.)

 The responses sent by two (2) of the Anglican Bishops made us realize even more that we were doing the best thing for our spirituality and salvation. We knew we were on the righteous path and that the goal was near. We were waiting with anticipation and excitement for the days to pass and to finally arrive at our destination of Holy Orthodoxy .

Well, those words are notorious for their lack of specificity.  Were the two bishops supportive of their move or not supportive?  It would have been nice to know which.  If the former, then those bishops were arguably derelict in their duty.  If the latter, then Fr. Rowe’s readers should have been entitled to the substance of their response.

By God’s grace I am now an Orthodox Priest. I have come home. By the grace of God, I have been able to share this journey with others and bring them with me. I now have the proper answers to those questions asked of me years ago in a simple Orthodox monastery. I cannot tell you how fulfilling and exciting this journey has been. The only regret I have is trying to figure out why I waited so long. Maybe it was to bring the three other priests with me? Only God knows.

 I suspect I also need to look up a certain Priest-monk and tell him the news…

 If you are reading this article and contemplating Orthodoxy, I would ask you to answer the same questions I was asked.

 Be honest.

 Come home.

“Be honest?”  By “honest”, does Fr. Rowe mean we really can’t answer his four questions?  In fact, we have.  When he appeals to “honesty”, how does that give with pretending to confect the sacrament at an Anglican altar when one does not believe that Anglican orders and Anglican sacraments are valid?  “Come home?” Come home to what?  To an “Orthodox” Western Rite that probably won’t be around much longer?  How “honest” is a bait-and-switch” operation like this, if that what is ultimately turns out to be?  Did Fr. Rowe become an Orthodox priest “by God’s grace”, or simply because his education in Anglican studies was lacking and because he fell for the “romantic” draw of Orthodoxy, "feeling" his way towards it as so many converts have to this lesser of the True One True Churches?  I just bet that when Fr. Rowe was “called” to Holy Orders in Anglicanism he believed at the time that he did so “by God’s grace.”  When he converted to Orthodoxy, however, he had to conclude that becoming an Anglican priest instead of an Orthodox priest was a mistake, and therefore “God’s grace” wasn’t responsible at all.  If, however, he does maintain that men become Anglican clergy “by God’s grace”, then how is it their orders and the sacrament they confect not valid?  Once again, O, hard condition!

To any and all Anglo-Catholic clergy reading this series of blog articles who “feel” that they are being led “by God’s grace” into the Orthodox ministry:  think, don’t “feel”.  If you do, and if you better acquaint yourself than Fr. Rowe and his convert colleagues did with the facts concerning the validity of Anglican orders and thus the validity of its sacraments, you will find without doubt that you are already home.

Part I of my response to Fr. Rowe can be read here, Part II here.  The final article can be read here


Anglo-Catholic Clergy Hankering for Orthodoxy Beware: The Orthodox Western Rite Is Neither Orthodox nor Western nor English nor Permanent (Part II of a Response to Father Mark Rowe) 

This is the second part of a response to the ROCOR Western Rite Communities Vicar General Fr. Mark Rowe, a priest who left the Anglican Catholic Church to join Western Rite Orthodoxy (hereinafter "WRO").  Part I may be read here, ParI III here and Part IV here.

In the course of  his 2012 Journey to Orthodox article "So That God Would Give You To Us." ,  Fr. Mark sets forth four questions to Anglicans in this article that he believes cuts the legs out from under the Anglican raison d'etre, which led to his conversion to WRO and which he posed on a recent Quad Cities Anglican Radio podcast to two ACNA clergy, Fr. Eric Vowles and Fr. Tom Janikowski, who lapped up every word without challenging anything he had to say.  From what I have been able to glean and in their defense, it appears that Frs. Vowles and Janikowski had already converted to WRO at the time of the interview, which would account for their responses, or rather lack thereof.  The four questions that in Rowe's mind are devastating to Anglicanism came from an Orthodox monk he spoke with while on a visit to a monastery:

One memorable trip we made together was a day trip to two monasteries in the Ocala area. There was a female and a male Greek monastery. We visited both that day. I remember to this day how impressed we were with the humility, hospitality and love we were shown in these holy places. The monks were going about their daily business during our visit and I noticed that they were saying the Jesus Prayer while walking or at their tasks. At one point, a young Priest-monk and I began to have a conversation. He was interested in hearing about my background. After we talked for a few minutes, he asked me some very candid questions- questions that changed my life.

He asked me:

Is the Church that you are in currently producing Saints?

Are you truly in the Church founded by Christ Himself?

If there was liturgy and Communion at the Tomb of Christ, would you be admitted to Communion?

Why would you risk your salvation and not become part of the Church where you can still do everything you love about your liturgical tradition but within Holy Orthodoxy?

For once in my life, I had no answers.

As I noted above, these are the four questions Fr. Rowe repeated in the Quad City Anglican radio podcast, to which Fr. Vowles and Fr. Tom Janikowski had no answer.  Of course, the implication here is that because they had no answers, no one could have any answers.  This second installment of my response to Fr. Rowe will be devoted to responses that a couple of fellow Anglicans and I gave at my Discussion Group for Anglicans Considering the Anglican Continuum at Facebook.

I will begin by providing links to a two-part response from Fr. Isaac Rehberg, rector of All Saints Anglican Church in San Antonio. TX (ACNA).  Fr. Rehberg’s reply stems from a more Protestant understanding of Anglicanism, some of which I do not necessarily share, but which needs to be read and considered:

Saints, Structures and Salvation, Part I 

Saints, Structures and Salvation, Part II 

Next, I want to post the response of Mr. Louis Underwood, an very astute and well-read 18-year old gentleman who is considering Holy Orders:

1) Is your Church currently producing Saints?

The process of canonization does not produce saints, but rather God’s Grace by which they live holy lives. In this sense, saints have and continue to be produced in the Anglican Church; although the modern apostasy from true Anglicanism has reduced the number of saints considerably. However, the fruits of grace are still present throughout the classical Anglican-world. When thinking of those traditional Anglican missionaries in Africa, India, and the Orient who give up everything to preach the Word of God to the Heathen, and those who live simple and holy Christian lives in their homeland, my answer to this question would be a certain Yes, God does still produce Saints in the Anglican Church.

2) "If you could do liturgically for the most part that which you do it now, but do it in the Church that unequivocally is the Church founded by Christ, why would you not do it?".|

Because we are already members of that Church which is unequivocally founded by Christ. Our Church was established by Saint Augustine, and has continued in an unbroken line of apostolic succession ever since, always under the official title "Ecclesia Anglicana". Genuine Anglicanism is just as, if not more intimately connected to the teachings of Christ than any other Church in Christendom. I say this because we recognize and submit to the Scriptures as possessing the highest authority, and containing all things necessary for salvation. This is in conformity with the teaching of the patristic fathers. For Saint Augustine says ""Who but you, O God, has made for us a solid firmament of authority over us in your divine Scripture....There is a testimony to you, 'giving wisdom to infants'. My God, make perfect your 'praise out of the mouths of babes and sucklings; (Ps.8:3). We have not come across any other books so destructive of pride, so destructive of 'the enemy and the defender' who resists your reconciliation by defending his sins...the voice of your messengers flying above the earth close to the firmament of your book; for this is the authority under which they have to fly, wherever they may go" (Confessions, p.282-283,287).

3) "Why would you even take a chance on risking your salvation?"

Non Eastern Orthodox Christians are not risking their salvation by belonging to the Catholic Church of God. Classical Anglicans submit to the authority of the Word of God, have had a continuous succession for 1500 years, and are therefore apart of this Catholic Church. Besides, Salvation comes from God (Ps.3:8), not from membership in this or that portion of the Church. Although we don't merit salvation, we have faith in God's infinite Love and the Sacrifice of His Son. We believe that this will save us in spite of our sins and weaknesses.

4) "Could you take Communion at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre?".

The Church is not about the buildings, but about the Faith. We receive Our Lord in our churches just as surely as they do at Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem . We hold the Faith of Scripture, therefore we hold the Faith of Christ. God didn't establish the "ancient four" as the singular Church. To say that He did is just another form of Papism, but with four popes instead of one. The Church is founded upon Jesus Christ (1.Cor; 3:11), not the "Big Four".

Now, I find it just absolutely astounding that Fr. Rowe, who presumably was required to have some sort of divinity degree or taken some kind of Anglican studies course to be ordained, would "have no answers" to these questions when the answers more or less rolled off the tongues of Fr. Rehberg and a young man with no divinity degree but who has clearly bothered to read and know about the Anglican faith he professes.  I wonder if he would have been such an easy target if he had known some basics about the Anglican faith and how to defend them.

Well, whatever the answer, my tack was a little different.  Instead of responsing point by point to the four supposedly unanswerable questions as Fr. Rehberg and Mr. Underwood did, I decided to take the position that what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, and posed a few questions of my own to Orthodox Christians:

1) Why does Orthodoxy's view of free will and grace differ so dramatically from the view presented in Holy Scripture? Why do you stand so squarely against St. Augustine and the Augustinian orientation of the Western church here? Even St. Innocent of Alaska seems to recognize the issue:

"Now, in the work we wish to advance, this does not in the main apply. To be sure, we too will need (in addition to financial means) intelligence, knowledge, experience, ability and so on, but we cannot - and must not, even under the best of circumstances - count on these factors as a sure means of attaining our goal. And why not? Because man's conversion to the path of faith and truth depends entirely upon God. "No one can come to me", said the Savior, "unless the Father who sent Me draws him to Me" [Jn 6:44]. Therefore if, according to his inscrutable judgments, the Lord does not wish for a given person or nation to be converted to Jesus Christ, even the most capable, most gifted, most zealous of workers will not succeed in his task." (Address of Metropolitan Innocent Veniaminov to the Organizational Meeting of the Orthodox Missionary Society, 1868. Quoted in Alaskan Missionary Spirituality, ed. Michael Oleksa, p. 141)

Orthodox patrologist Peter Gilbert, who adheres to the Orthodox view of free will, nonetheless concludes that "St. Augustine is genuinely on to something in his interpretation of Scripture", and that "what actually brings a human being to open the door (to the Gospel) remains deeply mysterious", and "if for nothing else, Augustine should be thanked for pointing that out."

2) Why, in light of the argument Fr. Matthew Kirby makes in his article "Catholic Ecumenism and the Elephant in the Room", should we take seriously your claim that the Orthodox Church is the "True Church"; that those not in communion with her are not in the Church?

3) A related point concerning one of Fr. Rowe's four questions: if your argument against Anglicanism is that it is producing no saints, how can you argue that the Roman Catholic Church is not the True Church, since it IS producing saints? And can you truly foreclose the possibility that once Continuing Anglicanism achieves the unity and stability towards which it is successfully striving it will reintegrate a canonization process?  (The fact that Fr. Rowe didn't see how Roman Catholics could use that question against Orthodox truth claims is simply mystifying.  For us Anglicans, however, it simply explains why we often jokingly refer to the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church as the "Two One True Churches". ;) )

4) The nominalism problem: if Orthodoxy, the "True Church", is the spiritual haven you say it is, what do you say to Orthodox theologian Brad Nassif's lament that the Orthodox Church is plagued by the "lack of changed lives"; that it is overly sacramentalized and under-evangelized; that the Gospel of Jesus Christ which is there formally in your theology, your liturgy, your iconography and your architecture isn't being effectively communicated to the laity?

5) I once heard an Orthodox priest that hesychasm was sort of a "Christian Zen." Indeed, many have pointed the similarities, but this particular kind of mysticism finds no support from either the New Testament or the Early Church Fathers. Might Barlaam have been right after all?

6) What about that pesky Toll House theology problem? ;)

In short, not only are Fr. Rowe's "Big Four Questions" unanswerable, Anglican clergy hankering for Orthodoxy ought to understand that they should answer a few hard questions too before they jump ship. 

Part III of my series of responses to Fr. Rowe's article will cover the remainder of his argument in the above-referenced "Journey to Orthodoxy" article.  It can be read here.